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Opinion: Cardgains – Lockdown and looking forward

Without doubt, 2020 and the start of 2021 has been a very challenging period for everyone with both the loss of life and economic carnage. We have had lockdown after lockdown and to make matters worse we all had different rules and regulations put in place across England, Scotland and Wales. The decision to close non-essential retail affected many stores, including our own card and gift sector. This wasn’t without confusion as, at one point in Wales, greeting cards were classified as ‘essential’. Despite the best efforts of the GCA, Cardgains, independents and other retail organisations, the plea to the Government to allow early opening was unsuccessful. 

Last year all Cardgains members, (essential and non-essential), demonstrated their independent survival skills and, by working hard in store introducing Covid safety measures, liaising with Cardgains HO and Cardgains suppliers, and using all the tools made available from the Government, prepared for retail life after Covid. What’s the saying… ‘When the going gets tough’!

Above: Cyril Service, Cardgains’ mascot with this year’s rally cry.
Above: Cyril Service, Cardgains’ mascot with this year’s rally cry.

The, albeit late, Christmas sales window was overall quite positive for our members and more importantly saw many new faces in store, as the consumers have rediscovered ‘local stores’ and the great service they can offer.  There has been much hype, particularly on social media with the #ShopLocal campaign, which has certainly helped everyone!

Obviously, there are still some challenging times ahead but hopefully, all will come through stronger than ever.

The Cardgains theme for 2021, ‘Stronger Together’ is a tribute to all our members, suppliers and the team at Cardgains who have all worked together in 2020 and who are focusing on a positive direction for 2021.

‘The Show Must Go On’

Cardgains will re-start the year in the coming days/weeks presenting ‘The Show Must Go On’ sales programme to its members, to ensure a good solid start as we continue the road back to normality and make sure the members turn their ‘new’ customers into ‘regular’ customers.

With the loss of the Spring Fair trade show last month the Cardgains plan is to take the show to the members, until the trade show calendar reopens, hopefully starting in July 27 and 28 with PG Live!

Above: Chris Dyson (third left) with Penny Shaw, Cardgains’ marketing director on the Cardgains Village stand at the Spring Fair a few years ago with members.
Above: Chris Dyson (third left) with Penny Shaw, Cardgains’ marketing director on the Cardgains Village stand at the Spring Fair a few years ago with members.

We will be running member trial packs and promotions once again, promoting member/supplier partnerships and setting up supplier showroom open days for the members.

As every year, we welcome new suppliers to the Cardgains portfolio. This year they include ArtPress, Coral & Mint, Marina B, Mulberry Studios, Scentiment Gifts, The Puppet Company and Umbra.

Above: Marina B is one of the latest publishers to join the Cardgains’ suppliers list.
Above: Marina B is one of the latest publishers to join the Cardgains’ suppliers list.

Any independent card and gift retailer, whether a card shop, gift shop, party shop, book shop or garden centre, who would like further information on Cardgains we can be contacted via the website www.cardgains.co.uk

Top: Chris Dyson is looking ahead for members.

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